By Rebecca LaBorde

Once again, a New Year lies before us and many different personal and cultural traditions surround the eve of this holiday. Ellicottville offers a variety of celebratory activities on the eve of the New Year.

In the United States, one of the most popular traditions is the dropping of the ball in New York City’s Times Square. This happens at the stroke of midnight and has taken place almost every year since 1907.  Other cities and towns have adopted their own version of this ritual with Dillsburg, Pa.’s  tradition of dropping pickles, one of the most unusual.

Slopeside Celebrations

Holiday Valley has some festive events planned that include music and dancing inside the new Holiday Valley Lodge with DJ John Barry. This is a fun family event that starts at 9 p.m. with cocktails and mocktail specials served at the Ullr Bar. The slopes are open until 10 p.m. and Cindy’s is open until 11 p.m. Then warm up around the cozy fire pit on the main level deck and watch the festivities unfold on the slopes.

At 11:15 p.m., the unique-to-Ellicottville tradition of the spectacular Snowcat Parade takes place on Cindy’s run followed by the Torchlight Parade at 11:30 p.m. Any intermediate or better skiers interested in participating in the Torchlight Parade should meet at the bottom of Cindy’s Lift at 11 p.m. (but don’t wear your best outfits as you will be carrying flares).

Jane Eshbaugh, Marketing Director of Holiday Valley said, “This is a tradition that’s been going on for over forty years.”

Ellicottville native John Northrup added, “The first torchlight parade was the winter season on 1959. We recruited anyone who had a ski jacket! And it was a very dirty job due to the ashes.”

At 11:45 p.m., Holiday Valley has planned a colorful array of fireworks with the grand finale at midnight that includes a Champagne toast! Be sure to pick up a glow necklace for the fireworks show. Admission to Holiday Valley events is free.

“Holiday Valley added the fireworks as part of the tradition about 26 years ago”, Eshbaugh added.

Rolling Balls and 

Live Bands

New to Ellicottville this year, Tim and Bonnie’s Pizza is also holding a New Year’s Eve event. For $30 a person, you can get pizza, pop and unlimited bowling from 9 p.m. to midnight. Large projection screens will enable you to witness the Times Square ball drop at midnight. (They do require a six-person minimum per lane with a deposit required.)

If, however, you prefer a lively bar scene, Madigan’s will have a DJ from 9 p.m.–2 a.m. The Gin Mill will be featuring the band Ray D. O’Flyer from 9 p.m.–1 a.m. Steel Keys & Brass will be playing at Balloons Restaurant from 7–11 p.m. All three places are not charging a cover to get in.

New Year’s Eve – A Blend of Tradition and Superstition

Staying up until midnight to ring in the New Year with noise makers or fireworks sprung from a superstition that it would scare away evil. Kissing someone at midnight was thought to ensure you will not experience loneliness in the coming year. If you lived in the Netherlands, you might be burning your Christmas tree in a street bonfire with your neighbors. In Portugal, it is customary to eat 12 grapes before midnight to ensure 12 happy months in the coming year. The custom of “first footing” is practiced in Great Britain and Scotland. This involves believing the first visitor to your home, after midnight, decides the luck of the family for the coming year. The age-old tradition of making (and most likely breaking) resolutions is thought to have started with ancient Babylonians, who made promises to start the year off on the right foot. One tradition in most Western cultures is to sing the Scottish folk song, Auld Lang Syne. Singing about “days gone by” is a call to remember friends and experiences from the past.

In the coming year, needs will arise and new experiences await, but there are many options on how and where to spend the last eve of 2012. Whether you are out in the community celebrating with friends or watching the ball drop from the comfort of your own home, hopefully your first visitor brings you good luck, the year is void of loneliness and the next twelve months will be happy ones!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.